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D.C. Department of Corrections. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

A federal judge on Wednesday held officials at the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections in contempt of court after ruling they violated the civil rights of a Jan. 6 detainee by impeding his access to medical care.

The big picture: The department has been the subject of heavy criticism from inmates, lawyers and judges over its living conditions, the Washington Post reports. During the pandemic, for around 400 days, officials imposed a 23-hour-a-day lockdown policy to enforce social distancing. The rule was eased this summer.

  • Some lawyers have also said that a lack of computers, video conference rooms and guards, along with pandemic restrictions, prevents inmates from getting access to legal counsel.
  • U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said he would ask the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation.

What they're saying: "I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abused. I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6th defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6th defendants ... in this and maybe other cases," Lamberth said in a hearing, per the Washington Post.

  • Lamberth did not impose any sanctions on the jail officials but suggested that inmates might have to be transferred out of the D.C. jail to other facilities if they are found to be treated improperly, the Post notes.

Context: The defendant in the case is Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys, who is facing several charges for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, including assaulting police and for causing civil disorder, per Reuters.

Read the order:

Go deeper

Latinos y MLK Jr.

Exhibition of Martin Luther King Jr "A dream of equality" at the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City. Photo: Miguel Tovar/LatinContent via Getty Images

The family of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is asking the public not to celebrate the civil activist on MLK Day as Congress stalls on national voting rights protections for Black, Native American and Latino voters.

Why it matters: The King family and other civil rights advocates today see access to the ballot as equally important to all people of color.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

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